In September I found a local writing group that offered a class for mindful mother’s. I signed up. The class ended two weeks ago, but because of the positive experience we all had (about 10 of us), the instructors decided to keep it going. I’m thrilled.
Mostly I did some light-hearted writing about motherhood, funny stuff. I kept it simple, but honest. I wrote. I talked. I listened. I opened myself up to these other writer women all in my age group. Ah-mazing! I am so glad I found this group.
Yesterday was the first class of the second session. Since I’ve established relationships with everyone in the group I started to write some stuff that dipped below the surface into who I am and how I’ve gotten here. I shared some of my battles with mental illness, I cried — I actually cried in front of these woman — and I was met with warmth and encouragement to write my story.
Write my story. Just write it.
It’s something I’ve wanted to do since forever, but I guess I needed some emotional distance from some of the things that I’ve gone through. I also needed to start TALKING about what I’ve been through instead of just letting it turn my mind into a war zone. So between treatment for bipolar, talking and writing to family and friends, psychotherapy… I am getting there.
I feel like my stories are on the tip of my tongue and soon, I need to just write them.
So I am going to.
What will it amount to?
I don’t know.
Maybe it’ll just be something I do, throw away, and move on. Maybe I’ll be able to craft it into a book, my ultimate goal.
All I know is that I need a plan.
So far my plan is to write an outline of the stories I want to write. Then write an abstract. Then WRITE THE STORIES. Then go back and play around with them, edit, chop, add, take them to writing groups, get feedback back and repeat. And then ultimately I’d like to lace into my stories some research about mental illness so my book will not only be ‘my own personal tragedy gone from bad to good,’ but the book will serve as an educational tool.
I don’t know.
Just thinking out loud. It sounds daunting to think about writing these stories, but I have to AT LEAST TRY. I have to try.
So as I am dealing with one more stumbling block from my past (and I am pretty sure it’s the last), I am going to start outlining a book and trying to write a summary of what I want to do. Maybe the stumbling block will crumble during that time or turn into a catapult. Then I have to WRITE. WRITE, WRITE, WRITE. For no one other than myself, at first. I have to get it down, get it out.
All of these stories have lived inside me or in the inside of private journals buried deep into a closet and they must see the light of day. That’s my first step.
I have the next three hours, three glorious hours, to myself at the public library to start my outline. No interruptions. Time to think. Time to organize. Time to make progress. I even hung up my rest vest on the coat rack near where I am working that signifies, I am going to be here for a while.
Tomorrow will bring me more time allotted to the library, one of my happiest places. At that point, I hope to have a skeleton my overall ideas/themes.
After that I am going to find a time to take a whole week — ONE WHOLE WEEK — after Christmas to sit down and write my stories. To bleed them out of me. Then in the beginning of the new year I’ll decide what’s next.
I need a plan, I have to plan if I am going to do this. But I also don’t want to set myself up for failure. So I guess I’ll have to take it slow as I uncertainly move forward.
So it goes.
No more hiding of my words.
Annie Dillard said, “One of the things I know about writing is this: spend it all, shoot it, play it, lose it, all, right away, every time. Do not hoard what seems good for a later place in the book or for another book; give it, give it all, give it now. The impulse to save something good for a better place later is the signal to spend it now. Something more will arise for later, something better.”
I am going to try to keep that thought at the forefront as I give this writing project a try. Because I have definitely hoarded A LOT of writing over the years. Seems like I might be ready. I do worry though because some of my stories contain sensitive information about myself and my family, but I guess I’ll just have to worry about that after I JUST WRITE IT from an honest heart.
I don’t want to blog it for now. JUST WRITE IT. All of it. And then see if I can put it all together into something worthy enough that a larger audience might be interested in reading.
Here’s to HOPING.